Kingdom Hearts 3 review

Thinking back when Phil Spencer announced on the E3 stage that Kingdom Hearts 3 was coming for Xbox still feels great to this day. For the first time, Xbox gamers can enjoy this Disney RPG from Square Enix! I jumped in blindfolded, only played the first Kingdom Hearts so you could say it is a completely fresh game for me. So is the Disney fan inside me happy after playing Kingdom Hearts 3? Most importantly after missing out on twelve other Kingdom Hearts games can we Xbox gamers even enjoy this new game?

The good

  • Each Disney world has a unique story: While the main story is confusing and pretty much nonsense I really liked that each Disney planet had a story on his own. While it frequently overlapped the main story it still had a few specific twinks and crooks. Lovely how the lore and story from Disney were always present too, making it a fantastic experience for longtime fans from, for example, Ratatouille, Toy Story or Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • And each world features new gameplay options too: What might be the biggest accomplishment for Kingdom Hearts 3 is how it always reinvents gameplay. Each Disney world has several new memorable gameplay elements, some great and some minorly less exciting but still decent. This is one of the few games that still gives players new gameplay features after spending more than 50+ hours. It is such a strong positive thing about the game because it keeps the game fresh and intriguing, you never know what to expect and you always look forward to seeing what else it has in store for you.
  • Fighting system: You’ll be pressing that A-button more than a million times but I’m never getting tired about how Sora and his Disney friends combat the Heartless enemies. While it might be a little repetitive to see “Disney Attractions” summons (yeah, that’s really a thing in this game) it remains fun to play because of insanely impressive visuals and the sheer amount of different options. The greatest strength is how responsive and diverse the combat works, changing your keyblade weapon on the fly, using the combat menu in real time, using a fire or water spell, everything is so fluid and easy-to-use that fighting against thousands and thousands of Heartless enemies remains fun. If someone asks me which battle system in a videogame is my favorite my answer will be Kingdom Hearts 3.
  • Magical Disney moments: One of the reasons why I like Disneyland Adventures on Xbox is interacting with all the lovely Disney characters. Kingdom Hearts 3 takes this even further, it is hard to not love this game when you are a Disney fan. The amount of fan-based content is ridiculously high, playing with your hero side-by-side can only be explained by a magical feeling.
  • Exploring space: Making your own Gummi ship and exploring the beautiful outer space with it is a really surprisingly feature for Kingdom Hearts 3. First time I got around playing with this I thought it was just going to be a gimmick but I’m happy to report that it is a majorly fleshed out gameplay element with lots of replay value. Looking for treasure chests and crystals, discovering star shapes that you need to snap on a picture, on-rail ship combat that plays like an evolution from Space Invaders with massive and awesome multilayered boss fights.
  • Great valuable activities: Mech battles, cooking with Remy from Ratatouille, dancing, taking pictures of hidden Mickey icons( kinda similar like Disneyland Adventures) or what about the twenty classic Kingdom Hearts games? While some or hit and miss activities it is a joy
  • Outstanding visuals: What a looker! I was regularly awe-struck with beautiful visuals, the most impressive part is the variation and amount of details. Seeing Sora, Goofy and Donald change in appearance in the different Disney worlds is not only a nice touch but it also helps to make it believable, they never feel out of place. Lush forests, huge draw distance, unique setpieces, and smooth animations make Kingdom Hearts 3 one very attractive game.
  • Music and sound: Special shout for all the voice actors, did you know that Sora is voiced by Haley Joel Osment? You know, the “I see dead people” kid from The Sixth Sense. All characters are done with believable voices (even Donald Duck) and considering the number of characters that is a real exceptional accomplishment. The theme songs from worlds (or space) seem to come right out of a Disney movie, always giving you the right atmoshpere while playing the game.

Mixed Feelings

  • Isn’t this supposed to be Disney/Final Fantasy? Yeah, you have a Moggle with shops, some Final fantasy characters, and a great unexpected Cactuar cameo and other surprises but I expected more Final Fantasy influence. Not that I think less for it but I hoped for a few more Final Fantasy references.
  • Cheesy dialogue: We get it Square Enix, you want to make sure that the players understand that friendship is important. But, it wasn’t necessary to keep rubbing that in our face every ten minutes. Every now and then you get some cheesy dialogue about friendship or losing courage, while I do love myself some Roquefort I do wish that the dialogue would be a little bit more for adults. That said, you get used to these things and the positive vibe from our friends give you a smile on your face.

The bad

  • Confusing main story: Isn’t it odd that a single franchise has been divided so much? Playstation and Nintendo had their fair share of exclusive Kingdom Hearts games, so it is to be expected that many Xbox players are a little confused about the story from Kingdom Hearts. I did my research before playing this game but it still remains one of the weirdest and hard to follow stories in video games. Don’t get me wrong, Kingdom Hearts 3 is great in every single way but I’m really disappointed in the storytelling way. You have the magical stories from Disney to your disposal, all those childhood favorite characters, all those endless opportunities and they simply don’t come together, while I won’t deny that I liked the story arcs on the Disney worlds, it is the main story that misses magic and that special “Disney” touch. You readers might blame it on the fact that I didn’t play all the previous games before but from what I experienced in this game I’m simply disappointed and expected more from the story.
    • Hard to understand for new players: A short negative but an important one: The story, for newcomers and veterans will be hard to understand.
  • Wonky Camera angles: Especially an issue when you are facing some of the huge bosses or even in the regular fights are some annoying camera angles. It happens frequently with special moves or summons that you simply don’t see what’s happening because an object is blocking the camera. Boss fights, for example, the first titan fight in the Colosseum world from Hercules is such a wonky camera experience, it was part of the Gamescom demo and it gave me such a bad first impression. Luckily the complete game makes up for that.

Kingdom Hearts 3 | Score: 92%

For Disney fans, for Roleplaying game fans, for gamers that love a deep combat system, simply for those that love games in general. Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game everyone will enjoy. It is a visually impressive “heart”warming and fun game, Xbox finally has a Kingdom Hearts game and it is totally worth your time and money.

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